Decorations, Displays, and Christmas Trees


To reduce the fire and safety risks that may be posed by decorations, displays, or holiday-related items, and to ensure compliance with applicable state and/or federal fire safety regulations.


This policy governs the fire safety requirements concerning use, maintenance, and disposal of decorations, displays, or any other holiday embellishments on the Urbana-Champaign campus.


This policy is implemented under the authority of the Executive Director of Facilities & Services.


The safety rules outlined below for decorations and displays must be followed on the Urbana-Champaign campus.


The following examples are provided for your guidance in selecting acceptable decorations, displays, and Christmas trees:

  • Acceptable:Flame retardant crepe paper, tissue paper, and fabrics; spot or flood lighting; table candles (in dining rooms only) with glass bowls or chimneys; Christmas trees of metal or self-extinguishing plastic; aerosol artificial snow (flocking); U.L.-approved lights on approved artificial trees.
  • Not Acceptable:Natural Christmas trees or branches; ordinary untreated crepe paper, tissue paper, or fabrics; light bulbs in contact with decorations; open candles and gas or liquid-fuel lanterns; fast-burning plastic materials (e.g. foam plastics of any kind); extension cords; cotton batting or cotton balls; loose or baled hay, cornstalks, leaves, etc.


  1. Decorations of any type must pass the standard test (refer to Fire Safety Regulations for Scenery and Set Decorations). (Normal use of bulletin boards and posters shall not be subject to this rule.)
  2. Electrical devices must bear the Underwriters’ Laboratories (U.L.) label and be in good repair.
  3. Decorations, displays, and Christmas trees shall not obstruct doors, corridors, stairs, landings, or spaces providing normal egress; neither shall they obstruct nor obscure building signs, fire equipment, or building service equipment.
  4. Materials used in displays must be adequately secured in place to prevent their falling. Free-standing displays must have adequate stability to prevent their toppling over. No attachment to building structures may be made except those receiving prior approval from deans, directors, chairpersons, or department heads.
  5. Whenever an object or material on display is potentially harmful (toxic, flammable, pathogenic, etc.), it should be represented by a harmless substitute; otherwise, adequate means must be exercised to prevent access by or exposure to viewers of the display.


Advice in these matters and interpretation of this policy may be obtained from the Facilities & Services Engineering and Construction Services Division, Campus Code Compliance and Fire Safety (CCC&FS), (217) 300-9645.